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Blu-ray Review: Unbreakable

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Following up his Oscar nominated Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is easily his second best film. His follow-ups have been less than stellar, especially The Village and Signs. Unbreakable has a style all its own, and maybe the ending isn’t as spectacular as the one in Sixth Sense, but the direction and concept are entertaining.

Bruce Willis returns under Shyamalan’s direction as David Dunn, a man who cannot be injured. As he pieces together his life with the help of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), he begins learning about his purpose in life. The dialogue remains intriguing throughout, and the pacing is perfect.

Direction is the high point. Shyamalan’s static style uses plenty of unique viewpoints without feeling desperate for an artsy feel. Camera moves are rare when focused on the main characters. The intent is to give Unbreakable the feel of a comic book, and it succeeds in every frame.

As with almost all of his films, Unbreakable carries a twist ending. It’s one that hovers on shaky ground as either a total success, predictable, or unfinished. Sequels have been spoken about yet never made. The realization of Dunn’s purpose is also hampered by on-screen text explaining what happened to the characters after the final shot, and it feels cheapened because of it.

Still, Unbreakable is an intense and gripping thriller. The mystery is excellent, and the framing of each shot makes it a memorable experience. While it may not be as fondly remembered as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable remains amongst the best of this director’s pieces.

Rarely have there been more inconsistent transfers than this one. At times, especially during the opening scenes on a train, this is a flawless presentation. Certain close ups late in the film are also loaded with detail. The rest of this murky, overly filtered HD mess is inexcusable. Edge enhancement is slight yet always noticeable. Extensive noise and grain litter the video. Bright colors can show some compression artifacts. Sadly, there’s far more scenes containing problems than highlights, though it is an improvement over the DVD.

With a solid PCM mix, Unbreakable sounds far better than it looks. Ambience is provided in droves as Dunn works his job at a local stadium. The crowd mumbling as they move around is perfectly captured. Rain during a storm is some of the best you’ll ever hear. Bass is powerful and rich. The train scene handles it perfectly.

Extras are basic, though complete when compared to the two-disc Vista series DVD release. Behind the Scenes is self explanatory and basic making of that lasts 14 minutes. Comic Books and Super Heroes is the best piece here, running 20 minutes and includes interviews with many famous artists and authors on the medium.

Train Station Mulit-Angle takes viewers through storyboards and the final form of this specific scene. Seven deleted scenes take at least a half hour to get through. Finally, a short home movie from Shyamalan’s early years is included and only runs a couple of minutes.

There’s a small nod to a prior Bruce Willis effort in the film. Elijah’s workshop has numerous newspaper clippings. One of them notes a killer virus has been released in a Philadelphia airport, the same events portrayed in Twelve Monkeys.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.